Capsaicin is responsible for the spicy flavor of peppers. It’s also responsible for the many medicinal benefits of cayenne pepper. Capsaicin health benefits include the ability to relieve pain, aid in weight loss, manage diabetes, treat psoriasis and reduce cluster headaches. The powerful compound has also been studied for its anti-cancer properties.
Capsaicin Health Benefits
1. May Help Treat Cancer
Research suggests that capsaicin health benefits may include the ability to treat cancer. In a 2006 study, researchers found that capsaicin was able to stop the spread of prostate cancer cells, and induce cell death. Studies have also shown that capsaicin health benefits include the ability to decrease inflammation caused by the H. pylori bacteria, which can help prevent gastritis as well as gastric cancer. (1)
2. Decreases Frequency of Cluster Headaches
Capsaicin health benefits include the ability to relieve pain caused by cluster headaches. One study found that cluster headache sufferers who applied capsaicin cream to the inside of the nostril experienced a decreased frequency of headaches. (2)
3. Relieves Pain
Capsaicin health benefits include the ability to relieve pain. Research has shown that capsaicin provides analgesic relief by activating a receptor in the brain that releases a pain-relieving neurotransmitter. When used in cream form, capsaicin health benefits include the ability to treat pain caused by osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.
4. Treats Psoriasis
Capsaicin health benefits include the ability to treat a variety of skin conditions, including psoriasis. Capsaicin cream works by reducing inflammation and helping to heal dry, itchy skin. On sensitive skin, the cream may cause irritation, such as minor burning and stinging.
5. Aids in Diabetes Management
Studies have shown that capsaicin health benefits include the ability to help manage diabetes. Consuming capsaicin-containing foods has been proven to improve insulin reactions and blood sugar levels in men and women. Thanks to its ability to relieve pain, capsaicin can also benefit those suffering from diabetic neuropathy. (3)
6. Helps With Weight Loss
Capsaicin health benefits include the ability to aid in weight loss. Spicy foods that contain capsaicin have been shown to lower body weight by speeding up the metabolism and boosting fat loss. Capsaicin can also help suppress appetite to reduce snacking and overeating.
Foods that contain capsaicin are considered safe to consume in moderation. A capsaicin overload may cause nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea and other digestive problems. In some people, capsaicin foods may cause acid reflux. If you frequently experience indigestion after eating spicy foods, it may be best to avoid foods containing capsaicin. Peppers can also cause digestive issues and inflammation in those who are sensitive to nightshade vegetables. Nightshade foods have the potential to negatively affect those with struggle with food sensitivities, allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, autoimmune disease or leaky gut syndrome.